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8 family members, including 5 children, found dead in their Utah home in murder-suicide case

(CNN) — A family of eight found shot to death inside their home in the Utah city of Enoch on Wednesday died in a murder-suicide case, according to a news release from City Manager Rob Dotson.

“Evidence suggests the suspect took his own life after killing seven other people in the home,” Dotson said.

Dotson identified the suspect as 42-year-old Michael Haight. The two adult victims were her wife, Tausha Haight, 40, and her mother, Gail Earl, 78, according to the statement.

The other victims were the couple’s five children: girls aged 17, 12 and 7, and boys aged 7 and 4.

“We join all who are deeply saddened by this tragic incident and want to express our condolences to the family and friends of the victims,” ​​Dotson said.

Police responded to the Enoch City home, which is about 240 miles south of Salt Lake City, on Jan. 4 to respond to a wellness check requested by family and friends who had not heard from the victims, according to the release.

The family killed in their Utah home by the father was known to police before the murder-suicide, according to a news conference with local officials.

“We knew the family, yes,” Chief Jackson Ames told local reporters.

“We had been involved in some investigations with the family a couple of years before,” he said, but declined to comment on the nature of the interactions.

City Manager Rob Dotson said the family was going through a divorce, but Enoch City Mayor Geoffrey Chesnut would not say there was a reason, saying investigators were still looking into the possibility.

“The information we had was that there was a divorce petition filed, that investigation is ongoing at this time,” Chestnut said. “According to court documents, she appeared on December 21 and was presented by her wife.”

Dotson said the family welfare check was requested when the suspect’s wife, Tausha Haight, missed an appointment Wednesday morning. A few hours after that request, Tausha was still unable to be located and a missing person report was requested from the Cedar City Police Department, where the suspect’s office was located.

Cedar City police passed the report to Enoch City police, Dotson said, and they eventually discovered the deceased family.

Authorities did not disclose when the shooting took place, but said Tausha and one of the couple’s daughters had been seen at a church function the night before the family was found.

Autopsies will be performed by the state medical examiner’s office, Dotson said.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox asked the public to keep the Enoch community in their prayers.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this senseless violence,” Cox said in a statement. Tweet on Wednesday.

Utah Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson also offered her condolences in a Tweet saying, “What a tragedy. I’m praying for the Enoch community tonight.”

— CNN’s Amanda Musa, Aya Elamroussi and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

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